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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v03n16)
Rick On The Records - by Rick Zeigler
posted: Aug. 11, 2006

Rick on the Records header

The Reverend and his Big Damn Band have finally unveiled their second album, "Big Damn Nation," and it is a corker. Following in the tradition of their debut disc, "Pork 'N' Beans," the Indiana born and bred band furthers its exploration of the sounds of hill-country blues on twelve self-penned tunes that consistently sound at least 50 years older than the age of any of the band's members. And unlike other contemporary groups delving into old blues traditions, the Reverend continues to eschew any impulse to go electric, relying simply on his own stunning acoustic fingerstyle and bottleneck-slide guitar playing along with the accompaniment of Breezy Peyton's washboard and Jayme Peyton's drumming. With their bread and butter being their vastly entertaining live show, featuring the Reverend's off-the-cuff audience interactions and the dynamic energy generated by the trio, this disc goes some way to capturing that energy (minus the audience interactions) on disc. This is largely due to the fact that it was recorded by the estimable Paul Mahern live and with no overdubs (as any traditional blues disc worth its salt probably should be). The record kicks off with My Old Man Boogie, a self-referential tale of the Reverend being in the shadow of his old man, played with an uptempo shuffle-beat and outstanding bottleneck work. The second track, Long Gone, features fingerstyle picking underlying a melodic mid-tempo blues. On both these tunes as well as the rest of the disc, the recent years of touring show handsome dividends in the Reverend's increasingly fluid guitar work. Whether lightning quick, as on the uptempo good-time Boom Chank, or sublimely languid, as on the lullaby-like Sugar Man, the Reverend tailors his playing to the call of the tune in expert fashion. And while one should not come looking for any modern updating of the hill-country tradition the band obviously reveres, the straight ahead single-note chorus of Spreading' Your Love Around and the hard-driving drumming of Another Battle do provide subtle hints that the band's members were not all born in the early 20th century. This Big Damn Nation has room for citizens of all ages, so start your application process now-pick up this album.

This is the debut disc of Indiana's own Big Big Car. Like many groups these days, their style is firmly centered on the alt/indie rock of the 80s and 90s, but some nice musical touches help to distinguish their sound from so many others. In particular, where traditional song structure insists on choruses that contain primary vocal hooks, Big Big Car either eschews choruses all together or, more often, build them on wordless instrumental passages that contain no voices or, at most, some nicely-placed "ooh-ooh's" and "aahs". It is in these numerous instrumental passages that their strength as a unit comes to the fore, with particular kudos going to the very syncopated, even jerky, rhythms provided by the drums and percussion that underlies the angular electric and straight-ahead acoustic guitars and propulsive bass. While this instrumental interplay dominates the album to great effect, the vocal style is the overly ironic, half-spoken, half-sung style prevalent among today's indie-rock groups. Judging from the melodic wordless singing mentioned above, carrying a tune is not the problem, but attitude may well be, as the ironic distancing grows tiring over the length of the disc. For a debut, however, Limestone Throne shows a band with strong musical foundations and outstanding potential.

Rick Zeigler, along with his wife, Jeanne, owns Indy CD and Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Avenue. Back in his musician days, his band opened for the likes of U2, XTC, Gang Of Four, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, and, um, Flock Of Seagulls, among others. You can read all of Rick's reviews at Email your music questions and comments to
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Brought to you by: Broad Ripple collector pins
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